Sign & Digital Graphics

November '12

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Designing Award-Winning Signs BY MATT CH A R BON E AU The Big Retrofit Using what's there for a whole new look Matt Charboneau owns and operates Drake, Colo.-based Charboneau Signs, an over- the-Web sign design service. Matt has 23 years of experi- ence in hand lettering, com- mercial graphic design, sign design, sales, fabrication, project management and instal- lation. He can be reached through his web- site at or admin@ he Opportunity: Shopping center wants a new look for their existing monument sign. T The Challenge: To save on demoli- tion costs, determine a way to use the existing monument sign structure as the foundational core of a new monument sign—and the site survey and details nec- essary for a perfect fit. The Existing Sign Structure A sign whose time had come—and gone. This monument sign has a lot of char- acter with its add-ons and cabinets that were brought into the mix after the ini- tial brick structure was built. (Photo A) The steel pipes on each side and across the top provided a place for the upper cabinets to be mounted without affecting the wind load and stability of the brick monument structure—a brilliant idea at the time. However, now the property owner wants a new, fresh, updated look and they don't want to start all over with a new sign due to the demolition costs of removing this monster. Extracting The Client's Vision The client (the property owner) Photo A: A photo of the existing monument sign with its external pipe feature. wanted an updated look with a top crown that matched the building plus incorpo- rate a lot of brick on the design. It's always helpful when the client is able to verbalize what they would like to see. They really liked their cornice work and wanted it to be part of the sign as well as provid- ing a larger tenant panel area that gave a cleaner, more unified look. (Illustration 1) This gave me a place to start. The cli- ent reviewed the illustration concepts and made a few recommendations that were easily incorporated into the design. Once we got things narrowed down to a concept they liked, it was time to start the process of mapping out the retrofit and making plans for the creation of some detailed scale illustrations. Survey Details They provided me a very accurate field survey that featured just about every detail I could possibly need. Each measurement was backed up by a photo of a tape measure in the picture. (Photo B1 and B2) Retrofitting requires an extensive survey and I cannot emphasis enough the importance of accuracy—to within a ¼" if possible. Errors of as little as one half inch can pose problems with cabinet fitment and retainer accessibility. The information provided gave me the "meat and potatoes" detailing necessary to effectively create a new sign structure 74 • November 2012 • SIGN & DIGITAL GRAPHICS ARCHITECTURAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL

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